It was time for God’s people to build a place of worship. The Tabernacle would be a movable tent, with elaborate designs and incredible symbols of God’s presence. In the center of this tent will be a place called the Holy of Holies, where the High Priest would make the sacrifice each year for the sins of the people. The Tabernacle was symbolic of God’s presence with His people, and was where His people would meet with God on a regular basis.
To create this incredible tent and prepare all of the instruments of worship, the Hebrews would need lots of materials. God’s house would be full of gold and silver, as well as other precious materials. Realize that there are all sorts of ways that God could provide these supplies. God created and owns everything, and could have dropped these items from the sky. Or He could have led His people into a battle where they defeated another kingdom and given them the supplies needed. Or God could have led them to a valley where all of the supplies supernaturally appear.
But God did not choose to fund His house of worship in one of these ways. Instead, the building of the Tabernacle depended on the offerings of His people. God told His people that they needed to give to the cause, and bring their offerings to Moses for this purpose. They were to bring offerings of gold, precious metals and stones, valuable wood, fabrics, and lots more. They needed to give in a sacrificial way with a willing heart. Did God really need their gifts to accomplish the building of this Tabernacle? NO! God can do whatever He wants. But the Tabernacle was a place of worship, and giving is one of the primary indications of a heart of worship. God demonstrated that calling His people to give sacrificially was His way to get to their heart.
The same is true today. God knows everything. On any given day, He could show church pastors and leaders where every gold mine or oil well in America is located. But He chooses to use us to fund the work of the Kingdom of God. He allows us to demonstrate our willingness to give and worship Him with our material goods.
The Hebrew people experienced two outcomes as a result of their gifts. First of all, they got to see God use them to do something incredible. As a people, they came together and collected more than they ever imagined. God allowed them to see the wonderful things He would do through them when they worked together and gave sacrificially. God allowed them to build this Tabernacle, and they would experience the presence of God as a result
The second outcome was that God was able to get their heart through their financial gifts. An amazing thing happens to us as followers of Jesus when we give the way the Bible calls. God always challenges the believer to give sacrificially and with a willing heart. When we do, this act of worship softens our very heart and opens our life to receive the blessings God has in store. Too often, and for every person, our portfolio and possessions become incredible idols that keep us from experiencing the depths of God. Giving provides a direct attack on this false gods, and a path to experience the presence and joy of the one true God.
When the offering basket is passed this Sunday, take notice. God could choose to fund His church some other way. But He has chosen to use you! Are you responding sacrificially and with a willing heart?